One Bloody Thing After Another by Jacob F Field
|One Bloody Thing After Another by Jacob F Field|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Definitely not torture, but this compilation of the darker side to our ages does bludgeon you by the end with its welter of facts and stories.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 192||Date: September 2012|
|Publisher: Michael O'Mara Books|
While other authors have made the case for mankind easing off in the destruction stakes recently, and becoming less hostile, bloodthirsty and cruel than in the past, it doesn’t mean that our global history is not littered with detail, about mutinies, massacres and murders. Mr Field here gathers the gamut of gore from the time when the only people writing down their history were the Chinese, up until the late nineteenth century, and covers the planet in search of slicing, dicing and deathly devices. It certainly lives up to its title.
It also is certainly a very erudite gift book, but it doesn't mean that I particularly enjoyed it. It definitely educated me – for example, in between the assassins and their part in the end of the Crusades, and William Wallace, is an instance of Danish kings having problems, much like England's Henry II, with the powers of the Church. There is a great breadth to the entries.
However, when you settle into the assurance that the author and his editors have made sure each article is the right length, you find they are pretty much in chronological order, with every page-long essay's main point forming a part of a narrative pulse. Yet read too much of this story at one go, and it really does boil down to the book being a one-note litany of death, duplicity and destruction. Perhaps I should have not expected anything different.
It is that story, in these pieces, that is the selling point. The Hundred Years War becomes a succinct five-page look at the madness of the French king, Joan of Arc and Gilles de Rais – the rest is not in this book's remit. But so global is the extent and research, and so snappy the description of torture, tyranny and terror that you really have to read this in small doses. There is a reason trivia titles are called toilet books in the trade – I cannot be alone in knowing people who do keep some such books in their bathroom. This has become another example of the category – when all told it really is a lot more intelligent than that.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
The Classic Guide to Famous Assassinations (Classic Guides) by Sarah Herman looks into singular deaths in a more successful manner.
You can read more book reviews or buy One Bloody Thing After Another by Jacob F Field at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy One Bloody Thing After Another by Jacob F Field at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.